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A modern methodology is presented for the optimum design of sucker rod pumping system. The pump setting depth and rod string tapers were determined for any production rate by an iteration algorithm. The optimization criterion was proposed to select the optimum pumping mode from the combinations of pumping parameters. The results show that size of pumping unit, plunger size, stroke length, pumping speed and rod string taper are the basic design variables that characterize the system. Pump setting depth and water production rate are the most important factors for the optimization criterion. Production rate increases monotonically with the design variables and load capacity. The stroke length increases while the load capacity decreases, and the plunger diameter decreases due to increases in stroke length for the identical pump setting depth and production rate. Short stroke length, low pumping speed, small load capacity and plunger diameter characterize the sucker-rod pump of CBM wells in China.